After watching my students take notes yesterday, and coming to the solid conclusion that most of them have no idea how to do so, I decided that today would be instructive on that point.
I began class by discussing with the how copying words verbatim from the board are a pretty terrible way to take notes.
Today's class was more of a discussion. We recapped the topics from yesterday and talked about writing the salient points in the notes rather than every little mark that's on the board.
After that, I handed out a new article about exoplanets for us to discuss as a class. I pointed out the headline and the sub-headline as ways to quickly summarize what the article is about.
I had my students write:
3 main points of the article
2 questions that were raised for them by reading
1 new piece of information that they learned
We took 10 minutes to read the article and discussed what it meant. I was incredibly impressed with the engagement and will continue to reinforce it over the next few days. Tomorrow, we'll be talking about the methods of exoplanet detection and I'm planning to go through it slowly, giving them a chance to reflect on their notes as we do. In addition, I'm hoping to bring more articles into class, giving them more opportunities to read and write.
They prefer to take notes because it's mindless, but they learn much more from discussion.
I'd rather have that.
Perhaps I'll have another student build me a satellite model to continue decorating the room.